Reinventing Rural: speakers touch on positive themes during Yarmouth chamber session

Eric Bourque
Published on January 26, 2016

Chatting after a Jan. 20 luncheon at the Rodd Grand Hotel (from left): Sarah Ryan of Brilliant Labs, Michael Carbonell of YACRO Social Enterprises, Dustin DuPrat of RennDuPrat Design and Loretta Davis, representing the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce. The luncheon was part of the chamber’s Reinventing Rural series.




YARMOUTH -- Through her involvement with Brilliant Labs, Sarah Ryan says she has learned a good deal from young people. She has been impressed with their knowledge, their ideas.

In an area struggling to find ways to retain people, particularly youth, she says students should be given the resources they need – technical support, workshops, guest speakers from different industries etc. – to help them pursue their career goals, hopefully without having to relocate.

“It’s really important for them to see that they have these opportunities available within their community,” Ryan said, “and that they do not have to leave their community necessarily to accomplish what they’re looking to do.”

Ryan, co-program director for Brilliant Labs Nova Scotia, was one of the presenters for a luncheon put on by the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce. The Jan. 20 session was the second in the chamber’s Reinventing Rural series.

Brilliant Labs is a not-for-profit organization that aims to make learning fun and relevant to students.

“Children have an innate sense of entrepreneurialism,” Ryan said. “They have that entrepreneurial spirit. They want to know. They’re curious.”

If her message was that youth represent great potential for the local area, her fellow presenter Dustin DuPrat touched on a similar theme, saying Yarmouth has what it takes to bounce back from some of the issues it has faced.

“The talent is here, the beauty is here,” said DuPrat, a designer and building renovation specialist and co-owner of RennDuPrat Design and Fabrication. “It may take a lot of hard work, but I think it’s important to remember and understand that pride is built in small towns like this. We can regain our pride. We can do anything if we set our minds to it.”

With his background in interior design and residential construction, DuPrat spoke of the great sense of accomplishment he gets from seeing a design go from the conceptual stage to something physical and tangible. It’s even better, he said, when the finished product has a positive effect on people’s lives.

Changing people’s lives for the better is what Michael Carbonell sees happening with initiatives like the Shanty Café, one of YACRO’s social enterprises.

The café employs people who otherwise might face barriers to employment. Carbonell, PR/marketing manager with YACRO social enterprises and another of the presenters for the chamber’s luncheon, said helping bring positive change to people is “what we’re doing everyday.”

Referring to the Shanty Café in particular, he said, “Through the food that we make, which is ethnic food, healthy food, the community also gets enriched … It’s a win-win.”